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When a Child Strays

Children are strange possessions. We raise them so we can lose them.
M. O. Vincent

Not long ago I was at an informal gathering of ministers when the conversation turned to disciplining children. Two of the pastors got into a spirited discussion about how they were raised — and how they were raising their own children.

"This will sound weird to you guys," said one pastor, "but my dad never laid a hand on me — ever. I remember one instance in particular: we had a long driveway, and when Dad would take his Sunday afternoon nap, I liked to drive the car up and down the driveway. Sometimes, to be cool, I'd open the car door to see where I was going as I backed up. But once I got too close to the house, and I caught the door on the porch steps and nearly ripped the door off its hinges. I remember how frightened I was, but Dad came out, looked things over, and said, 'I think we can fix it.'"

Another pastor said, "That's not the way my dad would have reacted!"

Amid the laughter, a third pastor said, ...

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